2008 Honda Pilot SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Honda Pilot SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Honda Pilot Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 244 hp @ 5750 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Honda Pilot

  • Although the aging 2008 Honda Pilot faces many newer rivals, it remains a strong choice for a midsize crossover SUV thanks to its versatility, strong reputation for quality and high safety ratings.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Eight-passenger capacity, generous storage and cargo-hauling abilities, comfortable ride, smooth power delivery, excellent crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Rivals offer roomier third-row seats and more agile handling, can't order entertainment and navigation systems together, starting to look its age.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Honda Pilot sees two new trim levels as the Value Package replaces the LX and a new Special Edition debuts. The former boasts a few more features than the outgoing LX, while the latter is essentially a cloth-upholstered EX with a sunroof and DVD player.

Full 2008 Honda Pilot Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Honda Pilot sees two new trim levels as the Value Package replaces the LX and a new Special Edition debuts. The former boasts a few more features than the outgoing LX, while the latter is essentially a cloth-upholstered EX with a sunroof and DVD player.

Introduction

Sensible folks who place function over form will agree that a minivan remains the most efficient mode of family transport. Quite simply, a big, front-wheel-drive box offers more passenger and cargo capacity compared to a like-sized SUV. But most image-conscious Americans find minivans seriously lacking in the cool factor -- something that SUVs, with their muscular bodies and big tires, have in spades. Those looking for a combination of minivan utility with SUV image should consider a midsize crossover SUV, such as the 2008 Honda Pilot.

At its debut back in 2003, the Pilot was one of the first midsize crossover SUVs, meaning it was (and is) car-based rather than truck-based. As such, it provides more cabin room than a truck-based ute, as well as a fully independent suspension. The latter typically provides better handling and a smoother ride than a solid rear axle setup can. Other charms of the Pilot include seating for up to eight, a strong yet fuel-efficient V6, the option of all-wheel drive and impressive crash test scores.

Now in its sixth model year, this generation of the Pilot is due for replacement (likely in 2009) and faces stiff competition in the form of newer rivals such as the spacious triplets from GM (Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook), the Toyota Highlander, the Mazda CX-9 and a pair of Hyundais -- the Santa Fe and upscale Veracruz. Of course we'd advise back-to-back test-drives of them all, but one shouldn't count the Honda out just yet. Far from being an old dog no longer in the hunt, the 2008 Honda Pilot still counts solid engineering and an enviable reputation for overall quality and resale value among its strengths. As such, it remains a sensible choice for buyers needing a jack-of-all-trades crossover SUV.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Honda Pilot is a midsize crossover SUV. Four trims are offered: Value Package, EX, EX-L and Special Edition. The Value package replaces the former LX trim and includes 16-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, air-conditioning (with a separate unit to cool the rear seats), cruise control, full power accessories, keyless entry, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a seven-speaker stereo with satellite radio and an in-dash CD changer.

Stepping up to the EX adds an eight-way power driver seat, extra interior storage, automatic climate control and HomeLink. Satellite radio is not available on the EX. One may also choose an EX with leather seating (EX-L), which also comes with a sunroof, satellite radio and heated front seats. A navigation system with rearview camera or a DVD entertainment system are available on the EX-L -- but you can't get both.

The Special Edition slots between the EX and EX-L in terms of pricing and equipment. It has a cloth interior, but compared to the standard EX, adds a sunroof, satellite radio, a rear DVD entertainment system and a 115-volt power outlet.

Powertrains and Performance

All Pilots are equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 244 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. The sole transmission is a five-speed automatic and buyers may choose between front-wheel and all-wheel drive. Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology, which "shuts off" three of the engine's six cylinders during cruising and deceleration to improve fuel economy, comes on the FWD versions.

Fuel-economy ratings for the FWD model stand at 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway for 2008. It is one of the few SUVs classified as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV). Towing capacity for the Pilot is 4,500 pounds -- about 1,000 pounds greater than many crossover rivals, but well below the ratings for traditional truck-based SUVs like the Ford Explorer or Dodge Durango.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard. In government crash tests, the Pilot earned perfect five-star ratings across the board for front- and side-impact protection. In frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Pilot received the highest rating of "Good."

Interior Design and Special Features

With its three-passenger third-row seat, the 2008 Honda Pilot seats eight. But that last row is best left to small kids, as legroom is tight. Cargo capacity with the second- and third-row seats lowered is respectable at 88 cubic feet. With the second-row seats in use, cargo capacity is 48 cubic feet. With all seats occupied, there's still enough room for grocery bags, baby equipment or a set of golf clubs. The cabin features good ergonomics, straightforward controls and high-quality materials, but the design is getting long in the tooth and looks dated compared to newer crossovers.

Driving Impressions

As the Pilot features a stiff unibody structure and a fully independent suspension, it is quite smooth and comfortable on normal roads. However, with a curb weight of more than 2 tons, there is no escaping the Pilot's bulk, and compared to more modern competitors, it can feel a bit clumsy around corners. In terms of off-road ability, the AWD Pilot can take on common hazards such as boat ramps, washed-out gullies and rough roads, but not much more.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Rattling noise

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I have heard this rattling noise for months now. I have even taken it to 2 different Honda Shops and no one claims to hear the noise or even tell me where the noise is coming from.




Disappointed

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV w/Rear Entertainment System (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Car was great for 70K miles. Since then, transmission, power stearing pump, radiator, car now has 85K miles, time to sell. All maintenance done by dealer. Too expensive to run anymore. I suggest looking at Nissan,




Terrible

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD w/Rear Entertainment System (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

2008 Honda Pilot. Very overrated vehicle, especially considering cost,. Heavy low speed steering; adequate power; figgity transmission; plows doesn't handle; mediocre brakes; gas guzzler;terrible stereo system ( good if you like rap- vehicle has a factory sub-woffer ). The following quit before 87,000km.....A/C -$2700 to repair - Honda dealer won't help; brakes $1,100; transmission $1,700; electrical issues $ 500. Honda service very expensive....my previous BMW service was cheaper. When you drive a Mazda, Toyota, or domestic the Pilot feels 30 years older.




Good deal

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

The reason I bought this car for reliability and it has not failed. I used it to haul my tent trailer up down the mountain ranges in British Columbia Canada and it did the job well. Hauling the trailer I got about 20 miles to a imperial gallon at about 70 miles/hr. Handling is reasonable braking is fair, fabricate interior stains easy. Not a lot of negatives other than the cost to purchase it new back in 2008.




Great family car--great value

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

After owning this great SUV for the last 3 years I just traded it in because we are downsizing. I actually made some equity in tis car which is unheard of with other cars!! Awesome car for a large family, but the mileage per gallon is very low and this SUV gets very thirsty very quickly. Gets very slippery during the rain--even with new tires.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Pilot

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot Value Package 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Bought new has been a GREAT car. I love the panoramic visibility from all directions. We are at 40000 miles and still have original tires with good tread left. My only complaint like other post is the fabric used on the seats, I expected more from Honda. The fabric on my civic which is twice as old looks better. That being said it is a great family hauler for those not wanting to drive a mini van. We plan on keeping it for a long time. I would buy again.



Talk About The 2008 Pilot

2008 Honda Pilot Discussions See all Started By

bigdadi118
bigdadi118
05-26-2008
Grille Insert by GrilleTech.com - Polished Chrome - 5 pcs overlay on OEM Grille....


piealot
piealot
07-10-2008
Our air conditioning suddenly stopped, apparently on start-up recently. The compressor doesn't kick in at all, and the ventilation fan doesn't turn on either. No heat either. Serpentine belt is fine.?...


sidb
sidb
03-06-2008
I just bought a Honda Pilot , in Feb 2008 , and i found so many issues with my Pilot. I have faxed Honda and the dealer, but i need to know my options and your suggestions....



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 16
  • cty
/
  • 22
  • highway
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